Loving family

They show up in our back yard about 5 o’clock most afternoons, a mother deer and her two spotted offspring. They nibble on our sparse lawn, the youngsters reluctant to venture too far from Mom, who occasionally gazes at us as we peer out the dining room windows, her ears up, checking us out, making sure that we’re no threat. They have been sticking around for a good 15 minutes or so each time, then wandering off. The entire time, traffic roars by on MLK Boulevard, just a few yards away. But they are safe in our yard.

Dad, proudly showing his antlers, showed up once last week, surveying the scene, nibbling a bit but keeping his distance from the others. At least we suspect that he’s the dad. Like most families, this little group likes to stick together, takes comfort in one another. Such a loving bond is not the exclusive province of humans.

We welcome them, to nibble at will and to delight us with their graceful beauty and calm. We have lived in this house for 39 years, but they were here first. We invaded space that was theirs.

I worry for them. We’re now coming into the season when days grow shorter, the hours of darkness increases and the number of deer grows. I fear that we won’t always see them lurking by the sides of our busy roads, waiting for a chance to bolt to the other side. Let us all be especially watchful and remind ourselves that the first deer we see by the side of the road is rarely alone.

Today’s word: its or it’s

Be careful with the apostrophe. This is an easy rule. The apostrophe takes the place of a missing letter. It’s means it is. Every time. If you wish to show possession, just write its, no apostrophe. Examples: The dog licked its tail. The committee conducted its meeting in secret. Example of correct use of the apostrophe: It’s a mystery to me why he did that. (It is a mystery . . .)

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